St. John’s College, in collaboration with UBC CTLT’s Aboriginal Initiatives, has been awarded the 2014 Equity Enhancement Fund for the following project:
Project name: Where Are We in the World? Enhancing UBC as a Place for Transformative International Community-Building.
Recipients: St. John’s College (SJC) and Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology (CTLT) – Professor Henry Yu and Amy Perreault
Description: The project will build upon existing strengths at SJC and CTLT to create processes and resources that can be used to foster community and capacity building, to enhance intercultural dialogue and understanding on campus, and to help create a better sense of belonging and place among international graduate students at UBC through flexible learning experiences.
The focus of this initiative is provide a strong foundation experientially to answer the question of “where” international graduate students are in terms of UBC and Vancouver as places on unceded Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh territory with often ignored or hidden histories of indigeneity and cultural diversity. The history of Vancouver reflects the remarkable achievements of the local society in peacefully dealing with some of these issues, as well as the continuing struggles with the legacies of this past in other ways. Passively allowing touristic narratives of Vancouver as a natural utopia to be the default story heard by new international graduate students abrogates our responsibility as an institution to properly welcome these students to their new home. We also miss the opportunity to introduce them in an engaged manner with the sites around UBC campus and the Lower Mainland that represent contestation, struggle and agency among those marginalized and excluded that created a better civic society out of the diversity.
In this proposed project, a set of resources that builds upon the existing and ongoing work of the City of Vancouver’s “Dialogues between First Nations, Urban Aboriginal, and Immigrant Communities” and “Newcomers Guides” projects and the Aboriginal Initiatives, Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology team, will be developed to become the backbone of a program of site visits, dialogues, and virtual introductions to both the campus and the city that engage new international graduate students into a sustained conversation about where they now live. The learning module will feature UBC – in relation to the Musqueam reserve/territory and the City of Vancouver, and Vancouver’s Chinatown.
The project will produce educational videos about each area featuring local historians and community members, along with an activity-infused guide that will encourage students to think critically about and reflect on three main themes: place, historical consciousness, and reciprocity. The video participants will be chosen subsequent to consultations with local community representatives and advisors from the Musqueam Nation and other relevant communities, such as the Chinese Canadian Historical Society of BC.
The modules will first be piloted with SJC residents, in alignment with the regular formal dinners and students who attend the PhD student lunches. To assess the impact and value of the modules, we will issue surveys to the students, and we will record some student testimonials to evaluate and showcase any changes (i.e. educational/attitudinal) they may have experienced after using the module.
While SJC consists of primarily international students, these resources will be of value to all graduate students and other learning communities at UBC. After the modules are complete and some testimonies have been recorded, a trailer-type film will be produced featuring key pieces of all the footage captured. These modules will live on the SJC website, and will be promoted through a variety of UBC units and media channels. The videos will be hosted through the official UBC YouTube channel on a dedicated playlist.